What is the Value of Progressive Web Applications?

What is the Value of Progressive Web Applications?


Hasn’t technology transformed our world completely?

The things that people could not even think of earlier are now possible within just a few clicks. Two chief reasons for such exponential digital development are smartphones and the internet. 

This deadly combo of smartphones and the Internet has brought the whole world to our pockets! We can now access all kinds of information from the comfort of our homes. In fact, it’s not just about the information! We can control most of our tasks with the help of different applications available in the market.

Web Apps vs. Mobile Apps

Words like web apps and mobile apps have become a part of our daily lives. But very few people know and understand these technical terms. Do web apps and mobile apps both sound similar to you?  Well, they are not. Before moving on to the actual topic, it’s important to see how they both differ from each other. 

  • Web Apps

Web apps are not programmed for a particular system and are accessed via the internet browser. Want to know the best part about these apps? You don’t need to install or download them because they are not native to a particular system. Plus, they adapt to all the kinds of devices they are viewed from.

  • Mobile Apps

These apps are programmed for a particular system, like iOS for Apple devices and hire android app developers for Samsung devices. This is the reason why they are also called native apps. You can install and download native apps through an app store and enable them to function by giving them access to your system’s resources like GPS, camera, and contact lists.

The Confusion

Why do people still get confused when there is a clear difference between them?

Well, web apps are responsive and adaptive by nature. They work on all kinds of devices, including smartphones. In fact, they look and function just like a native app on smartphones. This is where the confusion begins. 

Although they might look the same, they have their own merits and limitations. Mobile apps are faster and efficient. Plus, they can also be programmed to work offline. However, users have to regularly update them for better functionality. On the other hand, users cannot access web apps without an internet connection. The good part about web apps is that they can be accessed on any device and also update themselves as required.

Which of the two is better? Well, the answer is really simple! Web apps are better in terms of reach while mobile apps are better in terms of functionality.

Now, what if I tell you that you can have the best of both? Let me explain how.

What are Progressive Web Apps?

Progressive Web Apps are websites programmed to work like a native app with features like a home screen, responsive design, fast load speed, and offline functionality. Built with modern APIs, they match the capabilities of a mobile app while being accessible to anyone, anywhere, on any device.

But what are Progressive Web Apps made up of? 

There are three major elements of a PWA.

  • HTTPS

This is a protocol that allows an extra layer of security to your website through an SSL certificate. It protects your information shared on the website. SSL certificate is necessary for using service workers and enabling home screen installation. You have to purchase this certificate from your domain registrar and then configure it through your hosting service.

  • A Service Worker

A service worker is what actually shapes the features of a PWA. 

It’s basically a script running in the background of your browser to make way for functions not needing separate web pages or user interaction. They are responsible to handle requests, caching, and storage of the app shell data in a cache, enabling the app to work offline or on low-quality networks.

Push notifications and background sync are some functions supported by a service worker. You just need to register the service worker file (called service‑worker.js) onto the user’s browser. 

  • App Manifest

Another key element of PWA is the App Manifest File

You need to add a file, named manifest.json, in the application’s root directory to make your app installable. Consider it similar to an app description you provide to the App Store. It should have metadata like icons, a splash screen, a name, and a description.

How Do Progressive Web Applications Benefit Your Business?

Mobile applications and websites both have their own advantages and disadvantages. But what if you can combine their features? You can have the best of both worlds! The merits of a mobile application cancel out the limitations of a website and vice versa. 

First of all, Progressive web apps can work offline too. This becomes a huge help for all businesses, especially the ones with a product catalog. Customers do not need to have access to the Internet to browse through the catalog on a Progressive web app. Consequently, customer engagement increases for businesses leading to greater profitability.

Moreover. The speed of a progressive web app is much faster than a website. Normal websites that take longer than a few seconds to load the landing page are abandoned by a user. In fact, slow user interfaces are the most annoying thing for every Internet user! That is why Progressive Web Apps tend to have more user engagement than a usual website.

Also, the service workers used by a Progressive web app enable businesses to provide a better experience to their audience. These service workers run separately from the main browser thread, allowing better control over caching of assets. 

Lastly, your customers do not need to download your Progressive web apps from the online stores. They can easily access it over the Internet without any delays. In fact, they never need to manually install or update your Progressive web app ever for bug fixes and access to new features. Businesses also receive fewer customer support calls from users who face difficulties in installation or updates.